BEST 5 POETRY BOOKS 2003 [Tony
Tom Raworth, Collected Poems
M T C
Cronin, beautiful, unfinished
Moxley, The Sense Record
Middleton, Of the Mortal Fire
ELEVEN FAVOURITE JAZZ/IMPROV DISCS FROM 2003 [Nate Dorward]
Bite the Gnatze, Wilde dans in een afgelegen berghut (Trytone)
Dutch Swing--gorgeous & funny by turns, & it swings darn hard
courtesy Alan Purves at the drumkit. If Bill Frisell heard this he'd turn
green with envy (& maybe it'd inspire him to put a little more spine into
his watery country-jazz output for Elektra Nonesuch....but I digress).
Geof Bradfield, Rule of Three (Liberated Zone)
If you want a
cracking mainstream tenor/bass/drums jazz album, don't look to the major record
labels: this is the real deal. Everything from Ellington's "Day
Dream" to Andrew Hill's "Reconciliation" and a pile of pin-sharp
Rhodri Davies, Trem (Confront)
out an entire new vocabulary for the concert harp, thrilling and alien;
it's also a genuinely absorbing listening experience, by turns fascinating and
Whit Dickey, Prophet Moon (Riti)
& Joe Morris are great here, but the reason to get this is Rob Brown, who
really shows his mettle here. Free jazz that's cool and hot at the same time.
Marty Ehrlich, Line on Love (Palmetto)
track, "Hymn", is one of the most moving performances of the year. A
great group--Craig Taborn, Michael Formanek, Billy Drummond but as always
it's Ehrlich's gutsy blowing that draws everything together & makes the
listener sit up.
Vijay Iyer, Blood Sutra (Artists House)
quartet disc, this is easily his best so far, still having the fierceness
of Panoptic Modes but now more subtly modulated over the course of the album,
& finally peaking on a wrenching, epic reading of "Hey Joe".
Ahmad Jamal, In Search Of: Momentum (1ˆ10) (Birdology/Dreyfus)
In an age where
the piano trio format usually means streamlined politeness, it's a pleasure
to listen to Jamal's new disc, where lilting song and battering-ram assaults
can exist within a bar of each other. Mannerism? Yes, it is, & it sounds
Fredi Luescher, Cécile Olshausen, Nathanael Su, Dear C. The Music of Carla
It would be
hard to surpass this one for beauty. It's Carla Bley minus all the archness,
triple-distilled and radiant. Su's alto carries out Konitz/Desmond
reductionism one step further, and Luescher is nearly as economical at the
keyboard as Carla herself.
Giorgio Pacorig, My Mind Is on the Table (Splasc[h])
piano-trio music, by an Italian pianist who even has a go at a couple Ornette
pieces & gives Paul Plimley a run for his money in the process.
Evan Parker and Joe McPhee, Chicago Tenor Duets (Okkadisk)
records show him stuck on something of a musical plateau, going over the same
territory again and again. But every so often he's jolted out of routine with
the right sparring partner, as on here, where McPhee is certainly giving him no
quarter. Wonderfully dour music, & a rival to the 1993 Parker/Braxton duet
album on Leo. After I reviewed this one I lent it to a friend, & now he's
refusing to give it back what higher recommendation?
Trio-X (Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval, Jay Rosen), Journey (CIMP)
suite set down in the studio by a longstanding trio; McPhee sounds scarily
powerful whether he's on alto or tenor.
Barry Tebb, Collected Poems (Sixties Press).
that his poet lives every poem a real day at a time.
Richard McKane, Coffeehouse Poems (YKY).
English and Turkish by the best Coffee House poet in the world.
Ten Russian Poets(Anvil).
anthology of outstanding 20th century poems from the leading poetry nation on
TEN BEST DOORS 2003 [David Hart]
1. Glass swing doors, MAC Hexagon room, Birmingham.
2. Room 543 English/ Humanities,
University of Warwick.
3. My new back door, after the burglary.
4. Double doors, old building, Lifelong Learning, Selly Oak, B'ham.
5. A door in the Forest of Dean.
6. Front door, Sacrista Prebend, Southwell.
7. A door in Rickmansworth.
8. H's acupuncture door, Moseley, Birmingham.
9. Double doors, Summer School, Continuing Education, Warwick U..
10. Room 112, Undergraduate Building, Heartlands Hospital, B'ham.
10a. A car door, Cornwall.
BEST FIVE MASS POETRY READINGS OF 2003 AS CHANTED BY CHELSEA FANS
5) "You're worse than Sunderland." A pithy reminder of the strength
of local rivalries in the North-East of England, just after the fifth goal went
past the Newcastle goalkeeper, November 9.
4) "Shall we buy a ground for you?" Taking their cue from
well-respected Government ministers such as Geoffrey Robinson and Peter
Mandelson, the Chelsea followers offer to lend their Arsenal counterparts a sum
of Russian roubles to use as a deposit on a residence in Islington as rapidly
rising house prices overtake their meagre savings, October 18.
3) "Sign On! Sign On! With a pen in your hand, and you'll never get a job.
You'll never get a job." A heart-rending reworking of the 1960's song
"You'll Never Walk Alone", displaying an unlikely empathy between the
well-heeled socialite from the West End of London and his down-trodden
Liverpudlian cousin, May 11.
2) "Chim-chiminey, chim-chiminey, chim-chim cheroo. Who needs Wayne Rooney
when we've got Mutu?" A thoughtful study of the dichotomy between the
competing claims of headstrong youth and tried-and-trusted experience, November
1) "He's fat, he's round, he's sold your f***ing ground, Al-Fayed,
Al-Fayed". A moving appreciation of the plight of the homeless Fulham fan,
Joe LeSueur, Digressions of Some Poems of Frank O' Hara
An old friend
& lover is the tour guide. The world was once that good.
Vincent Tripi, Small Town
Out of the wild
blue yonder came this little gem in the morning mail and it's a bird's eye-view
of being townie.
Cid Corman, One Man's Man
Cid takes us all
to haiku heaven. Gennady Aygi, Child-and-Rose this arrived in the mail one
evening from New Directions and I opened the packet, loved the look of the book
immediately a quite different gatefold wrap with color painting and began
reading and never stopped for two hours.
Mountain Home, translated by David Hinton
The rivers and
mountains poets, rooted in Taoist thought, 5th century C.E. through the Sung
Dynasty China, is some of the richest, simply empowering and bedrock centuries
of spiritual muse ever.
The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth
One sure sign
that he is something to reckon with is just how many people are trying to
I no longer
read them much but would if Pynchon wrote more. These listed are not novels but
read like novels (that should count)
Michael Perry, Population: 485
driver's vintage storytelling.
Sam Fuller, A Third Face
Robert Mellin, Tilting
On the bookshop
shelf, ideal for display, this book is a bold marauder. The author is a
practicing architect teaching at McGill, who since 1987 has been thoroughly
documenting a way of life on Fogo Island just off the northeastern coast of
Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear
This is one
more album of scattered shot writings that we have come to expect from this
journalist since his hey-day of the early 1970s. Before that, he wrote two
masterpieces from the era: one on the Hells Angels and all things rolling; the
second on a fast-wired and now infamous journey once upon a time to-and-from
Las Vegas. Both books made him famous. Unlike his brethren, he didn't succumb
to mediocrity after awhile, in fact anything but, and this new collection paves
the way in local Colorado of his home town conflicts, prankster theater,
habitual target practicing with hand weapons and forever writing.
Gregory Corso, An Accidental Biography, the selected letters of Gregory
One more fine example of
an author's long time publisher pulling through with a nearly impossible
assignment of pinning down one of the best known vagabond American poets of
20th c. letters. And they do it. People will laugh people that knew Corso
will laugh but how Corso lived his life and survived (the miracle) plus leaving
in his wake some of the damnedest best poetry, Beat or otherwise, is breath
D'Gary, Akata Meso
Call it jazz.
Almost all jazz I listen to is 1920s-to when the funk went out.
Rodney Crowell, Fate's Right Hand; Heroes of the Blues: The Very
Best of Furry Lewis; Roscoe Holcomb: An Untamed Sense of Control; Wanda Jackson: Heart
Each with a certain all-that- jazz feel.
I never go. But the best burger is at The Cattle Baron in Roswell, New Mexico.
Best home-made pies: Marion's Pies in Chatham, Cape Cod.
Best meal out with a friend if you split the bill, The Bear Cafe, Woodstock,
The best all-day breakfast/lunch/supper, Michael's of Taos, New Mexico.
Best smoothie, hot-dog and fries shared with a loved one between trains: Union
REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2003 There Will Never Be A Better Time [A.C. Evans]
2003: Polly Jean Harvey's vocal performance on 'There Will Never Be A Better
Time' stands as the defining moment of this ludicrous year, when the
reactionary British Left kept its collective head firmly in the sand. Will they
ever learn? No! - The political bandwagon is just so irresistible.
The Best and the Rest… La Musique
A Soundtrack of the Year from many of the 'usual suspects' Tori Amos, Sheryl
Crow, Polly Harvey, The Banshees, Cassandra Wilson and Beth Orton. Ever-cool
Suzanne Vega adds gravitas, and newcomers Goldfrapp add a certain decadent
something. Perhaps the hard-edged confessionalism of Skin's Fleshwounds speaks for us all,
even though the 'couldn't-care-less' pop appeal of Bangles, Republica and
Transvision Vamp remains undimmed. Femme rock rools OK.What else is there?
Brecht & Weill of course! Oh, yeah and Marilyn Manson! Classical music
just doesn't stand a chance does it?
Best TV Pop Performances of the Year
Goldfrapp 'Train'/'Black Cherry'/'Strict Machine' Later 16/5/2003 (BBC2)
Marilyn Manson 'mOBSCENE' Friday Night With Jonathan Ross 6/6/2003 (BBC1)
Desert Sessions/Polly Harvey 'Crawl Home'/'I Wanna Make It Wit Chu' Later
Tori Amos 'Cornflake Girl' V Graham Norton 17/11/2003 (C4)
Best Archive TV Pop Performance of the Year
Bangles 'Walk Like an Egyptian' (1986) TOTP2 21/10/2003 (BBC2)
Best Pop Albums of the Year
Goldfrapp Black CherryThe Desert Sessions 9 & 10 (with PJ Harvey)
Marilyn Manson The Golden Age Of The Grotesque
Live Pop Album of the Year
Siouxsie and The Banshees The Seven Year Itch Liv
Pop Compilation Albums of the Year
Beth Orton (1) Pass in Time. The Definitive Collection (2) The Other Side of Daybreak
Crow The Very Best Of
Amos Tales of A Librarian. A Tori Amos Collection
Vega Retrospective. The Best Of
- Rare & Exclusive Recordings of 18 Classic David Bowie Songs (CD with Uncut Magazine)
Best Pop Reissues of the year
Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars (Hammersmith Odeon, July 3rd 1973)
Sonic Youth Dirty (Deluxe Edition)
Best Jazz Album of the Year
Cassandra Wilson Glamoured
Rediscoveries of the Year
Lotte Lenya & Others Die Dreigroschenoper/Berlin 1930 Songs &
Ready to Go The Best Of
Vamp Baby I Don't Care
Bizarre Songs of the Year
PJ Harvey/Chris Goss 'There Will Never Be A Better Time' Desert Sessions 9: I
See You Hearin' Me
Beth Orton's 'Carmella (Four Tet Remix)' re-surfaced on The Other Side of
Best and the Rest…Les Livres
Get real this was a time for reading Freud and Nietzsche. Professor Brian
Leiter from the University of Texas at Austin delivers the must-read of 2003
with his Nietzsche on Morality, a close look at Zur Genealogie der Moral (1887). Not only does
this book re-affirm Nietzsche's devastating expose of the non-moral origins and
function of 'morality', it also shows how Post-Modernists have misinterpreted
Nietzsche distorting his philosophy in the same way as they abuse science (as
revealed by the Social Text scandal of 1996). Still, we all knew that
'post-modern philosophy' is just another trendy goulash didn't we? Is this
Deconstruction? You bet your life it is!
Best Non-Fiction of the Year
Brian Leiter Nietzsche on Morality
Safranski Nietzsche A Philosophical Biography
Freud An Outline of Psychoanalysis
Freud Beyond The Pleasure Principle and Other Writings
Surreal Book of the Year
Iain Sinclair. London Orbital A Walk Around the M25'…we were in my liminal
territory, we ran with my myths…'
Best Poetry Translations of the Year
Maurice Maeterlinck Hothouses Poems 1889 (translated by Richard Howard)
Pierre de Ronsard Selected Poems (translated by Malcolm Quainton
& Elizabeth Vinestock)
Best Poetry Collection of the Year
Adrienne Rich The Fact of A Doorframe Selected Poems 1950-2001
It has long been my
view that no 'mainstream' poetry of any value has been published in this
country or the States since Plath's Ariel (1965). However, despite the
superfluous influence of fake poet Charles Olson, Adrienne Rich, with her
collection The Fact of A Doorframe, shows that all is not quite lost
Literary Rediscoveries of the Year
Anais Nin Collages (1964)
Noel Coward The Lyrics O (1965)
Sokal & Bricmont. Intellectual Impostures. Post Modern Philosophers'
Abuse of Science (1997)
Reaffirmation of the Year
Naturalism, Open Realism the mainstream is the new frontier.
'The theme …was freedom, freedom of the imagination, of expression, of style,
of subject.'- Anais Nin
TOP TEN WEIRD THINGS HAPPENING DOWN OUR STREET [Sandra Tappenden]
10) Time stops for the woman with unlikely hair
Sun. Aug. 3rd. The woman I set my watch
by, who always wears cream and navy, whose hair is done in a rush of grips and
fixative, is not at the bus stop at 10.30 am. This is ominous.
9) Occult practices observed by schoolchildren
On 31st Oct,
ten Harry Potter wizards, three Grim Reapers, and several unidentifiable
mini-witches are seen in the street at 8.50 am .
8) An abundance of mutilated pigeons
It has been
noted that a significant number of pigeon parts have been found strewed on the
road beneath the rail bridge. Whole dead pigeons have been sighted on the
pavement, wings neatly folded.
7) Missing Gates
house in the street has experienced the loss of a gate. Police say it has
something to do with summer heat.
6) Window broken at Post Office.
this. Some say it was deliberately smashed. Going by the lack of evidence, I
reckon it was caused by a very localized earth tremor.
5) Strange growth of DSS B`n`B.
unfortunate fire in the summer, which gutted the newly-refurbished hotel, the
premises have swelled from two to three terraced properties.
4) Bottle banks mysteriously emptied.
On Mon. 25th Nov. I deposited clear glass
in the clear glass receptacle at the local row of bottle banks, and actually
heard them hit bottom.
3) Man with Kango hammer caught breaking up privately-owned tarmac.
On Sept. 3rd at
7.45 am, a man was seen breaking up a pathway beside a row of garages. Accosted
by a garage owner, he blamed his behaviour on a message from beyond the grave
he`d seen in a Sunday supplement.
2) Brick pillar removed from outside no. 31.
two metre high, 60cm square gate post disappeared without trace from the
1)Inexplicable shower of silver coins by the bus stop opposite the fish shop.
The cause of
the phenomenon unwitnessed, but the coins spread across the pavement and road,
covering an area of about 3 metres in diameter. A woman with a pushchair, a
teenage cashier, and an old fella eating chips all testified to collecting
coins from the shower. The cashier said she had picked up £1.85 before feeling
difficult about it.
TOP TEN JAZZ CDs [Paul Donnelly]
The Box Set, Jimmy Lyons (Ayler Records)
5 cds worth of
live playing from an alto player who never ran short of ideas. His voice is
pure and true whether in trio, quartet or solo setting and the work with
bassoonist Karen Borca from 1984/5 shows two distinct voices, as near as
humanly possible, in harmony. This is a real and rare treat.
Live At The BBC, Ninesense (Hux Records)
reminder of what Elton Dean and his merry band could do. All on form, Tippett,
Charig, Malfatti, Skidmore et al tear through the repertoire while the
Miller/Moholo axis never sounded so powerful as they drive ‘Bidet Bebop’.
Lovely to hear the all too rare Mongesi Feza again.
Flowers For Johnny, Anders Gahnold Trio (Ayler Records)
captured double live cd of the trio featuring alto saxman, Gahnold, drummer
Gilbert Matthews and the impeccable bassist Johnny Dyani, to whom it is
dedicated. Unmissable example of a trio at work in the free arena whilst
retaining a firm grasp of melodic form.
Napoli’s Walls, Louis Sclavis (ECM Records)
quartet offers its take on the meetings between artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest and
the walls of old Naples. Mournful European echoes as Vincent Courtois’ cello
casts dark shadows down Napoli’s streets.
Sclavis, as ever, excels on bass clarinet in particular.Jazzloops, Hugh Hopper (Burning
loops and samples of Hopper and
some of his associates. Dark and otherworldly, harking back to a lifelong
fascination with tape loops.
Gianluigi Trovesi Ottetto, Fugace (ECM)
homage to jazz from W.C.Handy to the present, taking in Italian traditional
music, some Mingus-like swagger, funk, harpsichord snatches and elements of
electronics along the way. Pretty unclassifiable, which is always nice.
BBC Radio 1971-74, Soft Machine (Hux)
From the dark
turbulence of their fifth album through to the guitar led jazzrock of ‘Bundles’
this documents a band that were often much better live. Then they turned into a
blind alley from which they never re-appeared.
Before The Dawn, Satoko Fujii Orchestra East (Natsat)
All the energy
and intensity of a large free-blowing ensemble tempered by the rigorous
structures of big-band compositions. Somewhere near to Brotzmann’s Tentet,
perhaps, for sheer excitement and exuberance.
Askin’ The Way, Back Door (Cultural Foundation)
A comeback that
shows them doing what they do best ; old favourites and new tunes that mix
acerbic sax and gutsy bass all driven by their original and best drummer.
When Worlds Collide : The Music OF Frank Zappa, The Muffin Men/Ensemble 10:10
(label contact: www.muffinmen.co.uk)
Uncle Frank may
have had hard words for some jazz but this meeting to celebrate his work shows
how much of his music slipped into the category. Arrangements swing and exhibit
more life than some of the moribund regurgitations that surface in the name of
jazz. Fine sax, flute and guitar soloing in evidence as well as superb
arrangements for all sixteen players. What next ? ‘G-Spot Tornado’ ?
BEST POETRY BOOKS 2003
Larissa Szporluk, The Wind Master Cherry, the Wind (Alice James)
mythology, twisted innocence and more in a playful, accomplished lyricism.
Michael Teig, big back yard (Boa Editions)
discursive lyrics from one of the people who brought us the wonderful Jubilat magazine.
Olena Kalytiak Davis, shattered sonnets love cards and other off and back
handed importunities (Bloomsbury/Tin House)
which wander everywhere, winging it between romantic confession and personal
experiment. Surprising and delightful.
Michael Brennan, The Imageless World (Salt)
Full of new
images and ways-of-seeing and -saying, these ‘letters home’ are wonderful
missives from ‘the room of seven thousand books’.
John Kinsella, Peripheral Light (Norton)
At last! A
rigorously chosen and ordered, readable and coherent ‘selected and new poems’
from this effusive author/editor/publisher.
Robert Duncan, Letters (Flood Editions, reissue)
Tony Lopez, False Memory (Salt)
sonnet sequence which the author has been working on for several years in
one volume. A shattered, disassembled critique of consumer society and it’s
media; terse, elusive, difficult and rewarding.
THREE BOOKS OF POETRY CRITICISM OR POETICS
Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth (The Gig 13/14)
thorough collection of essays and writing about Tom Raworth, timed to accompany
the massive Collected Poems Carcanet issued this year.
Andrew Duncan, The Failure of Conservatism in Modern British Poetry (Salt)
unsuccesful, disappointingly (not) edited, opinionated and personal discussion
by this erratic and gobby author. Well worth the read though.
Pierre Joris, A Nomad Poetics (Wesleyan)
provocative and at times repetitive discussion of poetics in relation to
Deleuze’s idea of rhizomes and networks, and the concept of always being
BEST NOVELS 2003
Jon MacGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things.
nearest a book published by a mainstream publisher has come to prose-poetry.
This is a beautiful, evocative, slow-moving description of what goes on one day
in one particular street.
Jeff Noon, Falling Out of Cars
writes his masterpiece. A beautifully fragmented road trip, full of mirrored
images, drug-induced visions and disappearing words.
Alan Garner, Thursbitch
accomplished story of two couples, two times and one place there’s a
mythological passion and a surprisingly dark vision of the nature of things.
Garner’s best since Red Shift, which in some ways this revisits or rewrites.
Russell Hoban, Her Name Was Lola
Hoban has, in
many ways, been writing versions of the same story for a decade now. This is
one of the best, although he has yet to recapture the power and originality of Riddley